I met Paul La Farge 45 years ago, in January 1978. I was on my way out the door with a suitcase when the telephone rang. The phone sat on a shelf beside the door so I could answer without putting my suitcase down. Tom La Farge, the friend of a friend, introduced himself and asked if I would join him at home for a glass of wine. He sounded nice, so I accepted, thinking: I will take a morning train. Tom's apartment was eight blocks away from mine on West End Ave. We sat and talked in his living room beside a wall lined with books. A couple of hours into the conversation, a sound of whistling floated out of a room further back in the apartment, down a dark hall. It was seven-year-old Paul, fast asleep, whistling the theme from Star Wars. * Towards midnight I went home. While I slept the legendary blizzard of January 20, 1978, swept into the city, and by the time I awoke a swirling white silence had halted all vehicles on the East Coast. I never did take my train. Tom and I continued to meet and later that week I went back to his apartment to have dinner and meet Paul. A thin and very tanned little boy knelt on the carpet surrounded by Lego bricks. Tom poked his head out of the kitchen and introduced us. When I greeted Paul, he fixed me with […]
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